NFL rejects GNC’s Super Bowl advertisement

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The nutritional supplement retailer GNC purchased a 30-second ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl LI broadcast on Fox, but the ad was rejected by the NFL and will not air.

According to Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, the ad was pulled by the league after questions about the league’s policy on banned substances — specifically a memo distributed by the league and players union which lists GNC under “prohibited companies.” In the memo, players were warned not to endorse or have a business relationship with the company because it has been “associated with the production, manufacture or distribution of NFL banned substances.”

NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah said the union wrote a letter to the league voicing concerns about the ad, and the fact it was being placed in the league’s highest-rated product.

“We have told FOX it may not air in Super Bowl or any NFL programming,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Fox declined comment, while GNC said it was surprised to learn Monday the nearly $5 million spot would not air.

“We sent the spot to Fox on Thursday one last time, and they cleared it,” said GNC executive vice president Jeff Hennion. “Then Friday evening they called and said the NFL had an issue with the logo. We spent the weekend working through alternatives.

“And then at 1 o’clock [Monday] we were notified by Fox that the NFL had rejected us, our commercial and rejected us as an advertiser in the Super Bowl. And that was the first we had heard there was any concern with GNC’s participation.”

Hennion acknowledged the chain sells products with two ingredients on the NFL’s list of more than 100 banned substances: DHEA, an anabolic agent, and the stimulant synephrine. But he said products containing those ingredients comprise less than 3 percent of their sales.

Considering the problem some players have with banned substances, it’s a wonder GNC ever got this far in their quest to advertise during the Super Bowl. It’s also fair to wonder whether that problem is worse than the ones created by the beer which is so freely marketed, branded and deemed official by the NFL.

20 responses to “NFL rejects GNC’s Super Bowl advertisement

  1. “Considering the problem some players have with banned substances, it’s a wonder GNC ever got this far in their quest to advertise during the Super Bowl. It’s also fair to wonder whether that problem is worse than the ones created by the beer which is so freely marketed, branded and deemed official by the NFL.”
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    Exactly

  2. So let’s ban a company that sells healthy supplements and promotes an active, responsible lifestyle…but hey, bring on the beer, tortilla chip, and pizza commercials. Fat America thanks you for saving them great offense!

  3. But “Spirit Cooking” Satanist Lady Gaga is the halftime “entertainment.” Gotta protect that shield.

  4. GNC just managed to get their advertising done without having to shell out 5 million for 30 seconds! well done NFL! LOL

  5. So let’s ban a company that sells healthy supplements and promotes an active, responsible lifestyle…

    ____________________________________

    Yes and no. You know an assortment amphetamines and steroids and a whole host of other nasty garage lab garbage has been found in their “healthy supplements” right?

  6. So, would they reject a Johnson and Johnson ad for their baby products because they also make Sudafed which contains pseudoephedrine, a banned substance?

  7. That GNC was even considered as an advertiser in the first place before the union objected raises more questions than their ad ultimately being rejected answers. They just always seem to find a new way to show just how tone dead they are.

  8. Second Pittsburgh area HQ company to have SB add rejected. 84 Lumber’s spot was rejected by Fox…a 90 second spot….although I believe it was eventually edited and cleared. Something about building a wall.

  9. Considering the problem some players have with banned substances, it’s a wonder GNC ever got this far in their quest to advertise during the Super Bowl. It’s also fair to wonder whether that problem is worse than the ones created by the beer which is so freely marketed, branded and deemed official by the NFL.
    ————————————————————-

    Having alcohol promoted and so closely associated with the game (considering its effects on human behavior) pretty much invalidates any moral stance the NFL can make.

    It seems pretty clear that the league is only concerned about protecting the appearance of fairness and responsibility ON the field when it comes to the issues they distance themselves from (PED’s, gambling, concussions).

    The issue of alcohol promotion will be something the owners will have to account for someday in the presence of a higher authority.

  10. Yet another example of a corporate (or a non profit!!!) having far more power and control than it should.

    It is that that scares me far more than some sports banned substances, obviously they are legal in the real world or they could not be sold.

    The NFL thinks it is so above everything, it needs bringing down back to reality and that starts with the owners.

  11. Beer? What’s wrong with beer ?
    How can you equate a 5,000 yr old brewed beverage
    to banned performance enhancing substances ?

    Where do all you beer hating, NFL bashing people come from? And why are you here.

    Next thing we’ll see is commenters here hating on pizza and burgers. SMH.

  12. Dear Mr. Gantt,
    I’ll admit I’ve gotten on you a time or two (or three), but I’m with you all the way on this one.

    “It’s also fair to wonder whether that problem is worse than the ones created by the beer which is so freely marketed, branded and deemed official by the NFL.”

    And while the NFL may try (unsuccessfully, in my opinion) to project and protect an unassailable and mythical image of “Shield integrity,” they have for years consistently demonstrated an embarrassing lack of “actual” integrity!

    And in spite of their commitment to their “fans,” many of their actions indicate a total disdain for us. Really, why does the NFL need the designation “The official beer/truck/car/soft drink/whatever of the NFL”? The very fact that they expect us to take that “Official product” thing seriously and actually go out and buy a product because it’s an “Official NFL” product should demonstrate to everybody the sub-gutter level of esteem in which they hold us fans.

    The NFL’s moral compass points in only one direction and that is toward their bottom line. Everything else is posturing, face-saving, two-faced propaganda. The fact that any representative of the NFL can get up in public and expect to be listened to and taken seriously only proves how gullible and easily duped their “fans” actually are.

  13. As to my previous post: I forgot to mention that if the NFL has an “official” beer, why do they not have an “official” tequila, vodka, bourbon, single malt, gin, etc.? Or “official’ cigarettes?

  14. I can’t wait for the day when recreational marijuana is legal in all 50 states and NFL chooses to remove it from their list of banned substances. The NFL will certainly take full advantage of and take every penny marijuana advertising can rake in.

  15. Considering this came so late (5 days before the game) and that they spent the weekend trying to fix a problem they were told was holding them back. I would sue the NFL (and maybe Fox) for every single red cent spent on making the ad!

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